Alton's probably too panicked and angry to even attempt a clear answer to any question, let alone one that will no doubt make him more upset.
Nathan took a deep breath and walked over to the wall, sliding down beside Alton. He didn't dare touch him -- not with the demonstration of his strength clearly illustrated in the damaged tile between them -- but he gave him a tentative smile. "Hey," he said gently. "Calm down. I'm sure I'll figure it out later, but I'm just as frazzled as you are right now." He winced as he pointed to his shoulder. "I was shot, remember?"
Alton growled, holding his head in his hands before running his fingers through his hair, then turned to Nathan again with an exasperated sigh. "You don't get it." His attempt at calm failed with the crack in his voice. "The Sins are supposed to be under my control. I don't know how they did it, but they've freed themselves from my influence. Avaritia shouldn't have been able to defy my order not to harm you."
"Well, she didn't." Nathan figured he was referring to his gunshot wound. "At least not technically speaking. She might have caused the armed robbery back there, but she wasn't the one who shot me..."
"But that's just it, Nathan: she caused the attack. It doesn't matter that she wasn't the one who shot you. The Sins aren't supposed to be able to physically harm you, directly or indirectly." Alton sighed again, leaning his head back against the wall. "Why do you think you're immune to their powers? I don't even know if that's applicable anymore."
While they sat there in silence, the revelation that any control Alton might have had over the Sins was gone slowly sinking in, the sound of sirens began to drown out the sound of screams inside. Someone had called the police...
Nathan touched the bandages around his arm while he watched the paramedics and police tending to the other injured and frightened guests. Alton had left to find Micah as soon as they'd finished checking him over, but the writer hadn't seen any of the angels since. He'd seen Scott, but the other reporter was busy getting hasty interviews for the Citizen, and he'd seen Avery and Sloane, both talking with the police about what they'd seen. He half expected to see Avaritia again, but thankfully she seemed to be gone for good.
He did, however, see several body bags.
It occurred to Nathan that he was becoming far too comfortable with Gabriel appearing out of nowhere as he turned towards him. Death stood there solemnly, hands resting on his cane in front of him while he continued to stare ahead, his lips turned in a thin frown. "All twelve gunmen, seven guests. I'm surprised there weren't more." He only moved his eyes to look at Nathan. "It couldn't be avoided."
"Maybe." The writer looked down at the ground. "If I hadn't..."
"No, Nathan. It couldn't be avoided. You had no hand in this tragedy. Simple coincidence is what made you the catalyst. It would have happened either way." Gabriel smiled. "I told you I had work to do."
That didn't make Nathan feel any better, but he had no time to respond as Enya marched up to him, still in her Bytch costume, sans wig. "Hey," she said with a half smirk. "Thanks. For distracting that asshole."
God, that smile made him shiver. It was just like the one Marni used to always give him. Somehow, Nathan managed to remind himself that this wasn't Marni. This was Enya. He returned the smile. "No prob. I figured I had to do something to earn your forgiveness. That slap kind of stung."
"Yeah, well..." She grimaced. "You didn't have to get yourself shot for me to forgive you. I would have gotten over it eventually."
"Yeah I did..." Nathan grumbled, looking away.
"Nothing." He looked up at her again, his smile stronger. "I'm just glad I was able to help."
She snorted and rolled her eyes -- God, just like Marni -- then made a fist with her hand, pinkie up, and bopped her forehead. Nathan couldn't help but laugh as he grinned widely and responded in kind.
"I know," he signed. "But it was worth it."
Enya's smile vanished briefly as she stared at him in surprise, but then she smirked again. "Clever, smartass." She dropped her hands and opted to speak. "So anyway, I need to go check on my band and our equipment. I don't think any of it's damaged, but best to have a look. The others seem fine, but they're pretty freaked."
"I can imagine." Nathan still couldn't believe she knew ASL, but he could ask about it later. "You know, we never did get an introduction. I'm Nathan." He offered her his hand while she laughed, realizing the same thing. She gladly took it.
"Enya. Nice to meet you, Nathan. Hope to see you around." She waved as she released his hand and left, strutting back into the crowd to find her bandmates.
Once she was out of sight, Nathan looked over at Gabriel again, wondering why he'd gotten so quiet, but discovered he was gone. "Figures," he grumbled to himself. "I guess I better go find Scott about getting home..."
"Kiddo! There you are!" As if he'd read his mind, the other reporter was hurrying towards him, keys already in hand. "I think our work is done here. You patched up?"
"Perfect! I'm sure you got lots of good shots we can use too. Let's boogie!"
Nathan stared at him, but didn't move. The fake smile that barely concealed his panic said volumes.
Okay, Scott's hiding something he clearly doesn't want to share, and odds are good he just did something stupid, considering the last time he had this look, Enya was pissed at him. But I'm tired. Do I really want to deal with this now?
What should I do?